UK retailers report rebound in October, but outlook bleak: CBI

LONDON, Oct 27 (Reuters) – British retail sales have rebounded this month, according to an industry survey released on Thursday that contrasts with other gloomier indicators of the consumer economy.

The Confederation of British Industry’s monthly retail sales balance, which mainly covers large chain stores, rose from -20 in September to +18 in October.

Other data – including spending card figures released on Thursday – painted a more pessimistic picture.

“The reported sales balance was likely depressed in September by the additional bank holiday for the Queen’s funeral, so it was still likely to rebound,” said Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at consultancy Pantheon. Macroeconomics.

The CBI survey suggested there would also be a rebound in official sales volumes in October, although the broader outlook for consumer confidence remained decidedly pessimistic.

Credit and debit card data from the Office for National Statistics showed spending fell in the week of October 20 to 97.5% of its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

Spending on deferred items – such as luxury goods and furniture – was particularly weak.

Adjusted for inflation, consumer spending on this measure is 14% below its pre-pandemic level, with a drop of almost 30% for the delayers.

Wednesday’s near collapse of online furniture retailer – valued at just over £2m on Thursday after going public last year at £775m – underscored the tough environment for UK retailers.

More than two-thirds of British adults plan to cut holiday spending this year due to the worsening cost of living crisis, according to a survey released earlier on Thursday.

Despite enduring two Christmases under at least some social restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, three-quarters of adults are not planning a big holiday, according to Accenture’s survey.

Reporting by Andy Bruce Editing by William Schomberg

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